16 Essential Items for Your Carry-on Bag

Don't forget the earplugs!

There's nothing quite like getting on a long flight and realizing you'll have to listen to a shrieking toddler for eight hours because you forgot earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. Prepare for anything with a well-packed carry-on and make your long flight an easy one.

Water bottle - Stay hydrated and prevent jet lag.

Scarf - A light scarf can double as a light blanket on chilly flights.

Eye drops - Just in case a flight literally becomes a red-eye flight, eye drops will come in handy.

Dental picks - Keep food out of your teeth even when you can't get to a restroom or your packed-away toothbrush and toothpaste is out of reach.

Travel wallet - Keep your important travel documents in one place.

Charger - Don't let low battery anxiety ruin your flight.

Eye mask - Use flight time to catch some Z's.

Facial wipes - Arrive with a clean and fresh face.

Tissues - Don't get stuck with a runny nose and no tissues.

Crackers (or others snacks) - Never travel hungry.

Earplugs - Protect your ears from crying babies.

Headphones - Listen to music and movies, and block out background noise.

Tablet - Pass the time by watching shows and movies.

Magazines - Catch up on some light reading.

Small toiletry bag - Avoid having to dig through your luggage to get to your eye drops.

Sanitizing wipes - Steer clear of germs by wiping down arm rests and seat trays.

How to Survive a Long Flight

in-flight beauty tricks, tips, traveling, airplane, scarf
Use a Scarf

Use a Scarf

Tie your hair in a scarf to combat bad hair at the end of a long flight -- make it a Hermes to add extra glamour. 960 1280

Chris Leschinsky/Getty Images  

Hair Powder

Hair Powder

Hair powder, like a dry shampoo, helps combat oily scalp or limp hair. 960 1280

LiudmylaSupynska/Getty Images  

Leave-in Conditioner

Leave-in Conditioner

Leave your house with a leave-in conditioner in your hair. Wrap it in a scarf, and you'll get a deep-conditioning treatment while you earn the miles -- excellent for combating the overly dry air on board 960 1280

iStock/jfmdesign  

Bring a Hairbrush

Bring a Hairbrush

As always, carry a great hairbrush. Edriss and Landy like the junior Maison & Pearson. 960 1280
Hair Shine Paper

Hair Shine Paper

Don't forget hair shine paper. It helps eliminate static and reduce dullness. 960 1280

iStock/suksao999  

Cucumber Eye Pads

Cucumber Eye Pads

Cucumber eye pads. Pre-moistened pads soothe and refresh tired and puffy eyes. These can also be refrigerated prior to travel to further refresh eyes during flight. 960 1280
Makeup Remover Cloths

Makeup Remover Cloths

Pre-moistened makeup remover cloths remove makeup or just clean the skin mid- or post-travel. Neutrogena or Mac brands are good. (Note: These pre-moistened towelettes must be placed in your one-quart bag of liquids.) 960 1280

KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images  

Makeup Corrector Stick

Makeup Corrector Stick

Makeup corrector sticks help correct little smudges, blotches or "I-can't sleep-because-I'm-stuck-in-the-center-aisle" circles under the eyes. 960 1280
Cake Mascara

Cake Mascara

Cake mascara is a great alternative when liquids are not allowed. This is the classic Hollywood way to darken and define the eyelashes. It comes in a pressed, cake form and can be mixed with water then applied with a firm brush. They recommend curling the lashes first -- Paula Dorf or Longcils Boncza brands are favorites. 960 1280

iStock/deniztuyel  

Solid Cocoa Butter

Solid Cocoa Butter

Solid cocoa butter and cotton gloves for a hand treatment (also place in one quart travel bag). 960 1280

bluehill75/Getty Images  

Sleep Tight

Sleep Tight

Many people suffer anxiety while flying, leaving them exhausted upon arrival. Mosaic Weighted Blankets offers a refreshingly low-tech solution. Weighted blankets simulate the effect of a reassuring hug, which increases serotonin, producing a calming, sleepy feeling, as if you were napping under Grammy's homemade quilt. 960 1280

Izabela Habur, iStock  

Relaxation 30,000 Feet in the Air

Relaxation 30,000 Feet in the Air

There are ways to do yoga on a plane that do not end with an air marshal and handcuffs. Yogi Ramesh Padala has devised YogaTailor a personalized yoga and meditation guide with suggestions for air travellers by which he swears. Teri Meissner teaches the Japanese practice of Jin Shin Jyutsu, a touch-based relaxation technique that can be applied even within the confines of an airplane seat.   960 1280

Genaro Melendrez-Diaz fotografo, iStock  

Tune In, Drop Off With Me

Tune In, Drop Off With Me

If you find it impossible to tune out the carnival in your brain prior to an early flight, the DreamScience Brainwave Oriented Sleep Companion is your own personal off switch. 20 nature-themed soundscapes and hypnotic mood lighting will drop you into a blissful dream that the gradual wake setting will lift you out of in time to make your connecting flight.  960 1280

DreamScience  

Fasten Your Head Belts

Fasten Your Head Belts

The only thing worse than not being able to sleep on a plane is being too good at it.  The GoSleep Travel System is a car seat for your nodding noodle. It combines a memory foam neck pillow with a sleep mask that wraps around the seatback keeping you in the upright, locked position for the entire flight. We love the cool retro-aero designs.  960 1280

GoSleep  

You're Getting Sleepy

You're Getting Sleepy

Four out of 5 scientists agree that listening to the windbag next to you doubles flight time. SleepPhones are headphones in a headband form that comfortably and cordlessly evict the outside world from your headspace. They’re made from recycled plastic bottles, so when you glance out the window at that swirling vortex of trash in the Pacific, you’ll rest easy knowing you had little to do with it.  960 1280

SleepPhones  

First Class Sound, Even in Coach

First Class Sound, Even in Coach

When you want to feel fancy even when you're sitting by the aft lavatory, slip these tony Symphony 1 cans over your ears and let the vulgarians speculate as to the aristocrat in their midst. These premium Definitive Technology Bluetooth headphones feature 50mm drivers for high-quality sound and pack a battery with 10 hours of run time, although these leather and chrome babies should score you an inflight upgrade to business class before that ELO playlist blows your cover.  960 1280

Symphony1  

Heavenly Sleep

Heavenly Sleep

If you’re not a fan of bulky, neck pinching, swim camp looking travel pillows, the Travel Halo may be the answer to your prayers. While the oversized eye flap blocks out light, the two stabilizer pillows on the back of the headband keep your dome upright, balanced and comfortable. The Travel Halo packs into a tiny bag that fits neatly into your purse or pocket.  960 1280

Travel Halo  

Blue Light Special

Blue Light Special

Using a mobile device before trying to sleep is like Red Bull for your eyeballs. The blue light from phones and tablets inhibits the production of melatonin.  Enter WaveWall Sleep, an affordable blue light filter and screen protector for Apple and Android devices. Now you can use your mobile device until the sun comes up, secure in the knowledge that it won’t keep you from losing sleep.   960 1280

WaveWall Sleep  

Convertible Neckwear

Convertible Neckwear

There’s nothing more dashing than an aviator scarf, but they haven’t been functional flight wear since the open cockpit era. The Voyager Travel Pillow Set by Happy Luxe resuscitates the classic accessory by including two removable pillows that can be configured as neck support or a sleeping cushion. There’s even an air-activated warmer in case cabin temps dip below your comfort level. 960 1280

Voyager Travel  

Window Seat Upgrade

Window Seat Upgrade

The Znzi Travel Pillow instantly turns your porthole into a headrest. The plush, adjustable pillow has two suction cups that attach to your window, enabling you to make the most of a limited space. When you arrive, the pillow folds into a small slipcase that slides onto your luggage handle for quick deplaning. 960 1280

Znzi  

Cut Lines With Pre-Screening

Cut Lines With Pre-Screening

Signing up for TSA PreCheck can save time via dedicated lines where shoes stay on and laptops remain packed. Fast Track Global Entry makes sense for jetsetters with disposable income who don’t want to stand in the customs line. Both require advance paperwork and fees. 960 1280

JordiRamisa, iStock  

Pack Smart

Pack Smart

Pros pack with clothes at the bottom and oddly shaped items such as a hair dryer and shoes on top. Pack all the jewelry you will wear that day in an outside pocket of your carry-on, and then put it on once you pass through security so you don't have to take it off and put it on again. This enables the screener to work faster, saving time and keeping you moving. Savvy travelers also carry nothing on their person: no wallet, no keys, no gum. 960 1280

leminuit, iStock  

Get Alerts

Get Alerts

Many security checkpoint wait times are accessible via an airport’s website. Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta uses Trak-a-Line and will even email you when a line gets longer. MiFlight does the same for 50 major airports. Traffic jams can also put the brakes on smooth sailing. Check your drive time on an app like Waze, which gives you an ETA and reroutes you if there’s heavy traffic. 960 1280

laflor, iStock  

Be Liquid Free

Be Liquid Free

There are plenty of TSA-friendly concentrated waterless products and collapsible refillable water bottles so that flying through security is a breeze. For example, Lush Cosmetics offers dry shampoos and conditioners, toothpaste in tablet form and solid moisturizing bars that are great for an in-flight refresher. Silicone Bubi Bottles roll up, fit in the palm of your hand and come in many sizes. 960 1280

trekandshoot, iStock  

Carry On, Carry On

Carry On, Carry On

Don’t check bags unless you’re going on a month-long adventure. You’ve already waited around at check-in, don’t create even more opportunities to wait in lines. 960 1280

SkyRoll  

Use Airport Apps

Use Airport Apps

Flio connects you to airport WiFi connection and helps locate amenities like power outlets, play areas for kids and connecting gates. If you’re delayed or have some extra terminal time, FlySmart has reviews of terminal restaurants and shops by fellow travelers. The directionally challenged will love iFly, which uses GPS to help you reach that connecting gate without walking the wrong way.

 

960 1280

Flio  

Dress Like a Pro

Dress Like a Pro

Invest in a “plane outfit” consisting of classic items in dark or neutral colors made from breathable fabrics like cotton and cashmere. A nice poncho, like this one from Minnie Rose, subs as a blanket and is easily packed. Shorts, flip-flops and warm-ups make you look like an amateur. No gate agent is going to randomly upgrade a passenger wearing anything that makes noise when you walk. 

 

960 1280

Scott Goldberg, Minnie Rose  

Don't Cut Corners

Don't Cut Corners

Don’t skimp on your luggage. Look for pieces that keep all your documents and devices in one easily accessible place. Quality bags will hopefully last a lifetime; a cheap one could fall apart on an unexpected layover in Toledo.  960 1280

PeakDesign  

Mind Your Manners

Mind Your Manners

If you think you’re stressed, think of the men and women who do it every day. Should an emergency occur, they’re the ones who will help keep calm and even save lives, so show some respect. Treated with courtesy, a flight attendant might even slide you a free beverage or extra peanuts. One polite gesture can go a long way, on that long 2,134 mile route from ATL to LAX.  960 1280

andresrimaging, iStock  

Smart Bag

Smart Bag

A duffel bag or large backpack or other soft bag is the preferred choice for frequent travelers because it can be easily crammed into the overhead bin and is far less likely to be taken away from you to be checked at the gate. 960 1280

  

Video: 16 Carry-on Essentials

Check out this list of essential carry-on items for your next long flight.

16 Carry-on Essentials

 01:12

Check out this list of essential carry-on items for your next long flight.

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